- After paying off $50,000 in debt, Ja’Net Adams wanted to quit his full-time job.
- She stuck to a two-year plan to quit her job while cutting her living expenses.
- His business has been going strong for 11 years and Adams hasn’t looked back since.
- Read more stories from Personal Finance Insider.
In 2010, entrepreneur and mother of two Ja’Net Adams (pronounce juh nay) quit his job selling pharmaceuticals to start his own business, Debt sucks college.
Before starting his debt repayment coaching business, Adams paid off $50,000 in debt, split evenly between student loans and a high-interest car loan. Her co-workers noticed how she managed her finances and started asking her for advice on their own debt repayment journey.
They’d say, “We’re making all this money, hundreds of thousands, and we’re barely getting by,” Adams says. “So I started guiding people through the process. As I kept doing it, people said, ‘Wow, you really have a gift, Ja’Net, that’s something you should To do.
Eventually, Adams unlocked a deep passion for teaching people how to manage their finances. She began to be booked for concerts around the country, even though she was afraid to quit her full-time job immediately.
Here are five simple strategies that helped her quit her full-time job with as little anxiety as possible.
1. She set a 2-year timeline for quitting her job.
In the present time of the great quit, people leave their jobs without lining up, or simply “quit on the spot”, coasting and doing the bare minimum instead of trying to exceed their employer’s expectations.
The key to Adams’ stress-free transition from day job to entrepreneurship was long-term planning. She says, “We just paid off $50,000 in debt in two years. I just have to sacrifice a few more years working at this company enough to get closer to my income.”
Because she knew she could achieve a big goal like becoming debt free in two years, she also knew she could plan entrepreneurship with realistic goals each quarter, which would allow her to pay herself at least $65,000 a year, which she earned at her day job.
2. She and her family didn’t take a vacation for two years.
Adams told Insider, “I had a one-year-old when I was in debt. Then I got out of debt, got pregnant again, and my second baby was 1 when I stopped. Work full-time.”
While starting a business with two young children certainly sounds stressful, Adams took advantage of this time to skip vacations. Instead of putting thousands of dollars on vacation, she took the opportunity to bulk up her savings and get closer to her two-year goal of quitting her job for good.
She also used her paid vacation days strategically to book speaking engagements at colleges. Adams says, “When I had two weeks of vacation, I used each of them really strategically to fly early in the morning and then fly home the next morning to go to work.”
3. She had a mentor
Adams needed to surround herself with people who encouraged her to continue her business, especially when, at the time, many people around her were reluctant to leave steady employment for entrepreneurship.
She says, “To have a mentor who was actually in pharmaceutical sales before me, and he left, he was doing it, leading by example.” Being around someone who had achieved exactly what Adams set out to do motivated her to keep going.
Adds Adams, “The best thing my mentor ever said to me was, ‘Ja’Net, if it goes bad, what could be worse? You go back and get another job.’ But I’ve never looked back since. That support around me has really helped me.”
4. She avoided the lifestyle creep
Adams’ debt-payoff journey began when she was laid off from another job selling pharmaceuticals in 2008. During that time, she charted every penny her family spent and cut as much as possible the surplus, including downgrading their home insurance among many other budget cuts.
Once Adams returned to full-time work, she kept the same minimal family budget so she could spend more of her salary on debt repayment.
Now that she was planning to quit her day job and start her own business, Adams has avoided lifestyle drift – the common pattern of spending more money as you earn more, getting used to levels higher luxury and convenience. She says, “We didn’t go on vacation for two years. We didn’t go out to eat for two years. Nobody got presents for two years. So it was nothing new for us. It was just like, head until I can achieve my goal.”
5. She created a daily schedule suited to her long-term goals.
Long before you could simply block time off on your Google Calendar, Adams learned how to properly manage his time based on his long-term goals.
She says, “I learned to do this from my mentor. I woke up at four in the morning, I worked three hours on my business. Waking up my toddler at seven, taking him to daycare, working eight to five, being a mother and a wife, and then I’d be working 9 to 12 on my business. Then I would do it again for two consecutive years. I built my business that way, and we’re going 11 years now.”